3/2/2014 8:14 P.M. ET
Rangers will break camp with best pitchers in rotation
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' bullpen and rotation puzzles may have several interchangeable pieces, but manager Ron Washington has made it clear which puzzle is top priority.
Washington said Sunday he'll break camp with his top five starting pitchers in the rotation -- regardless of how well Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers or Michael Kirkman might seem to fit in the bullpen.
"We're going to leave out of here with our five best," Washington said of his starters. "If they're included in our five best, yes [they'll be in the rotation]."
Ross and Scheppers are each slated to pitch two innings against the White Sox on Sunday, which is a starter's workload at this point in the spring. Kirkman worked two frames on Saturday.
The Rangers have been down this road before. Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando were relievers turned starters and -- in Feliz's case -- turned reliever again.
"We're not the first organization to bring guys up to the big leagues that had been starting in the Minor Leagues and put them in the bullpen and then transition them out," Washington said. "Results may not have been great, but we will not stop trying."
Of course, there's always the chance that Washington's top five starting options won't include a converted reliever. Tommy Hanson could find his form after a rough 2013, and Matt Harrison could put back troubles behind him and return sooner than expected.
Or, it could be Colby Lewis who reclaims a starting role after missing a season and a half with two major operations. The right-hander underwent right hip replacement surgery last Aug. 22. and he had surgery on his right elbow on July 27, 2012 -- four days after he made his last big league start.
Count Washington among those impressed with what Lewis has accomplished in camp. So what has surprised the Rangers manager most thus far?
"That he hasn't missed anything," Washington said. "He's been Colby Lewis -- leading, being a pro, not asking for any favors, being a part of everything. That's surprising for us. He had a serious operation."
First spring game is a rocky one for Feliz
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz made his first Cactus League appearance on Sunday, throwing one inning and allowing a two-run homer.
It wasn't an ideal start for Feliz, who missed most of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the 25-year-old right-hander was also a bit unlucky.
He induced what should have been a double-play ball, but Rangers shortstop Josh Wilson bobbled the transfer. Two batters later, White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers launched his first home run of the spring.
"We're constantly looking for the velocity, but I thought [Feliz] did well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He got a ground ball for a double play. We turn that double play, he's off the field. Yeah, you've got to pick them up when it doesn't happen, though."
As for that velocity, Feliz hit 92 mph with his fastball, which didn't seem to concern Washington, who noted, "That gun might be a little slow out there." Feliz was up to 100 mph before the injury.
"I think we all would like to see him throw the ball the way we're used to seeing him throw," Washington said. "But the guy just had an operation, and we don't know what's going on."
Feliz made just six appearances last season, and he didn't allow a run. In 2010 and '11 -- the Rangers' two American League pennant-winning seasons -- he saved 59 and 56 games, respectively.
Seahawks QB Wilson set to arrive at Rangers camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On Monday morning, the Rangers will welcome one of their more talked about offseason acquisitions to Major League camp. He's got a cannon for an arm, he's got shifty speed, and he's got all the intangibles it takes to win a championship at the highest level.
He's Russell Wilson -- yes, that Russell Wilson, the Super Bowl champion quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. And he'll be in uniform for the Rangers' Cactus League contest against the Indians on Monday, although he won't see any game action.
The Rangers acquired Wilson from the Rockies in the Triple-A edition of the Rule 5 Draft in December. Wilson, a two-sport star, played two years as a Minor League infielder in the Rockies' system, where he hit .229 in 315 at-bats.
Wilson's baseball career wasn't all struggles, however. He was both a speed and on-base threat, swiping 15 bags in 61 games for Class A Asheville in 2011. He also posted an on-base percentage of .366 that year, despite hitting just .228.
The plan is for Wilson to participate in the Rangers' workout on Monday morning. He'll then be in uniform for the game.
"The guy has had a lot of success, and he has a championship attitude," Rangers manager Ron Washington said earlier this week. "We're going to give him a chance to talk to our young kids and see what happens. Maybe [shortstop Elvis Andrus] and some of those young guys can hang with him and see what he has to offer."
Choo day to day with left arm soreness
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers may have just coined the latest baseball-related medical term -- "Spring Training arm."
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo won't play against the White Sox on Sunday and is listed as day to day with general left arm soreness, the kind that often occurs after workouts early in camp. One day earlier, it was Elvis Andrus who was sidelined with similar symptoms, and he also wasn't in the lineup on Sunday.
"Choo is not playing today with what is being described as Spring Training arm," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "He has just a little bit of soreness and is listed as day to day.
"His is more in his triceps, and Elvis' is more his flexor. It's more muscular than anything, but we're just going to give him a day or two to let it calm down."
In other injury-related news, left-hander Rafael Perez threw live batting practice on Sunday morning -- his first action since he sustained a right hamstring strain. Leonys Martin (back tightness) was cleared for baseball activity, but he wasn't in Sunday's lineup.
Meanwhile, second baseman Jurickson Profar has participated in live fielding drills on his own, meaning he has resumed throwing to first base. Profar has yet to play the field this spring because of a shoulder injury, and he's been used solely as a designated hitter.
Arencibia gets to know his new pitching staff
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the first items J.P. Arencibia received after signing with Texas in December was a hard drive containing video of every Rangers game from 2013.
It didn't collect much dust. Arencibia got right to work watching the pitchers he'd be catching in a few months in order to prepare himself for camp.
"We definitely have a lot of tools available in watching film," Arencibia said. "I've watched a lot of these guys pitch, the way they attack hitters. As soon as I signed this offseason, I got a hard drive of every single game, so I just watched all the games, and I watched the pitching."
Still, for all the work as Arencibia did to prepare, as the old saying goes, nothing can prepare you for the real thing.
"I could watch as much film as I want, but the biggest thing is that in-game relationship -- knowing what they want to throw, knowing what they want to do and keeping a good pace going," Arencibia said. "It stinks sometimes when you put down a sign, and you're not on the same page. It'll take you a little while to get on the same page."
Geovany Soto -- Arencibia's competition for playing time behind the plate -- is out of his walking boot, but he is still inactive after having surgery on Feb. 22 to remove a small bone in his right foot.
That means a bit more time for Arencibia to familiarize himself with the pitching staff, a process that he said has been so enjoyable, "it doesn't even feel like it's work."
"It's just fun to be in a different atmosphere," Arencibia said. "Everything here has been awesome. It's been a lot of fun. The coaching staff, players, they put a good group together. The overall process, it's a fun process."
• Harrison felt good after a long toss session Saturday with no lingering effects from the back injury that has sidelined him this spring. He is slated to throw off a half-mound on Monday, according to assistant GM Thad Levine.
• Kirkman, who looked very sharp in two scoreless innings against Oakland on Saturday, said he has made adjustments early this spring to make his pitching motion more efficient. Now, his goal is to find consistency.
"When I'm out there tossing on the mound, I need to be able to repeat my delivery, keeping my head going straight down the hill."
• Saturday's thunderstorms rendered several of the back fields unusable on Sunday morning, and the Rangers were forced to combine their entire workout into the front two fields.